Coastline – experience amazing ocean views and the slow pace of life along highway #11

Provincial Highway #11 meanders along the Pacific Ocean through the heart of the East Coast National Scenic Area. This vast scenic area is scattered with idyllic fishing villages, rice paddies, herds of water buffalo, and some of the best surfing spots in Taiwan.

On the East Coast, you can experience the slow pace of life combined with amazing views over the sparkling ocean. Palms trees line this dazzling coastline; a wide array of scenic sites alongside and people coexist peacefully with the natural surroundings. A diverse set of cultures are preserved in this region. It is home to indigenous groups such as the Amis, the Kavalan and the Sakizaya.

On the coastline, you will enjoy the cooling Pacific breezes in a rural environment and a feeling of communing with nature. Peace and tranquility will never be a stranger when visiting the East Coast. Answer the call of the wind and sea then. Surround yourself with natural beauty and rustic simplicity. Experience the breathtaking views of Taiwanese East Coast. The glistening Pacific Ocean and peaceful villages surrounding you will make your trip to the coastline unforgettable!

HOW TO GET THERE?

Hualien Bus, DingDong Bus, and Taiwan Tourist Shuttle all offer transportation along the coastline.

Hualien Bus serves the area from Hualien along coastline on line number 1140 to Jingpu (Shitiping), 1145 to Chenggong (Sanxiantai Arch Bridge), and 1127 to Taitung. Check the detailed bus schedule about these 3 bus routes on the Hualien Bus company website:

http://www.hualienbus.com.tw/bus/userfiles/files/151200973111392.pdf

DingDong Bus serves the area between Taitung and Hualien on line number 8119. Check the detailed bus schedule about their bus routes on the Dingdong Bus company website:

http://diingdong.myweb.hinet.net/

Taiwan Tourist Shuttle offers two routes from Taitung: one route along the coastline to Sanxiantai and the other one along the East Rift Valley to Luye Gaotai. Check the detailed bus schedule about their bus routes on the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle company websites:

http://tour.taitung.gov.tw/en-us/Event/News/1110/Taiwan-Tourist-Shuttle-Timetable

With careful planning, you can visit the main spots on public transport, but to make the most of the area you need your own transport. It is highly recommended to visit East Coast Scenic Area by bicycle. On a bike, you are absolutely free to go everywhere and check all the attractions on the coastline. Check our blog for more details about how to cycle along the East Coast from Hualien to Taitung!

ATTRACTIONS ALONG EAST COAST FROM NORTH TO SOUTH

Niushan Scenic Area 牛山呼庭

Niushan (Cow Mountain in Mandarin) is a scenic spot along the eastern coastline of Taiwan. It’s located about 40 minutes’ drive south from Hualien City and offers a great place to enjoy a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and Coastal Mountain Range with nobody disturbing you. Long ago these green hills surrounding the small bay were a place for local aboriginal tribes to breed their cows and other livestock. In the mid-20th century, an outpost for the Taiwanese military was constructed here in the hidden cove but was unfortunately destroyed by a typhoon.

Today, the area contains a rustic bed built by aboriginals. Formed as a small group of cabins along the hillside and adorned with driftwood art, it is a perfect escape into the rural world of Taiwan. There is also a sprawling hillside lawn with aboriginal wood carvings to explore. Famous American movie director Martin Scorsese even filmed some scenes here for his film Silence!

Entrance Fee to the Beach: NT$ 50

If you appreciate a slower pace of life and enjoy getting off the beaten path, check out Niushan. It might just be the place to be for you!

Jiqi Beach / Dashibi Hill Trail 磯琦海水浴場 / 大石鼻山步道

Jiqi Beach has up to 3 km of soft sandy beach. During the high tide in winter, the sand is washed up and makes the beach look black, but when summer comes, the beach is beautiful and golden again. Jiqi Beach serves also as a recreational place for water activities. Besides the beach, you can find camping areas, restaurants, and some other leisure facilities in this area. It’s a great place for summer fun at the beach!

In the south of Jiqi, it is possible to board fishermen’s rafts and go for ride. They often take guests for reef fishing, and in addition, sometimes you can spot some of them fishing for silver pomfret at night. In Jiqi Bay, there is also the Dashibi Hill Trail, where visitors can observe the flora and fauna of the area and appreciate the rural landscape as well. It’s a short 1.2KM walk and offers you a great view over the turquoise blue coastline.

Entrance Fee to the Beach: NT$ 100

The beach can be closed due to the bad weather or strong current in winter, always call before go there.  TEL: 03-8711235

Shitiping Scenic Area 石梯坪風景區

Shitiping, meaning literally “stone steps”, is a huge area of coastal terraces. Situated at the 65-kilometer point on the coastal highway, the area was formed when volcanic rock worn away by erosion was uplifted in layers that resemble stone steps.

In Shitiping, visitors can enjoy views coral reefs, sea trenches, and cliffs above the water and coral reefs, a variety of seaweed, tropical fish, and shellfish can be found underwater. Shitiping is a great place to observe the area’s ecology and also makes it an excellent place for SCUBA diving. The Visitor Center at Shitiping contains illustrations and explanations of the local topography, sea life, and vegetation that will make your visit more educational and interesting. There is also a campground inside where visitors may spend the night listening to the roaring ocean! It’s a popular campground so make sure to make a reservation before you go there.

In addition, there are some good sea food restaurants near Shitiping harbor and whale-watching boats available. Some good homestays and B&B are around as well if you would like to spend a quiet evening along the Pacific and see a moon-river shining on the ocean. Check the lunar calendar for the best timing to do this during your stay in Hualien.

Diamond Avenue (Cycling Path) 長濱金剛大道

Located a bit off road from Highway #11 in Changbin Township, Diamond Avenue cycling path offers a great view over the vast fields all the way to the sparkling palm line coast. On this road, you can catch a beautiful view of Mt. King Kong. Because of that, that section of road is sometimes called “King Kong Road". With terraced landscapes on both sides of the road and the scenery changing with the seasons, you will never get sick of this view! The cycling path makes a circle coming back on Highway #11 along the way, you should definitely do this scenic detour!

Sanxiantai Arch Bridge (Cycling Path) 三仙台跨海大橋

Sanxiantai is located in the north of Chenggong Township in Taitung County. The area is composed of offshore islands and coral reefs. The most distinctive sight in Sanxiantai is its huge arch bridge.

Sanxiantai is actually a geological rock formation that was once part of the mainland. Gradual erosion cut the neck that connected it, and thus it became an island. In 1987, the government completed the eight cross-sea arch bridge that crosses over to the island. It was designed in the shape of waves, almost like a sea dragon, and connects Sanxiantai with the main island. Sanxiantai has become the most famous landmark on the East Coast.

There is a trail that goes around the island, and it takes about 2 hours to do it with no rush. Sanxiantai is ecologically very rich, too. Because of the lack of human disturbance, there are still coral reefs surrounding the island. Besides being a home for cute little screw pine trees, it is also a place for the study of coastal plants like date palms, white dogwood, and bay bean. Sanxiantai is classified as a nature reservation in Taiwan. Because of the coral reefs and tropical fish, it is said to be the most beautiful place for undersea exploration in Taiwan.

Donghe Taiyuan Valley 東河泰源幽谷

Donghe Bridge is located at the river mouth where Chenggong Township is connected with Mawuku River. You can see the new and the old bridges both crossing the river at this spot. The scenery along Mawuku River is spectacular.

Proceed to Taiyuan Valley located along the road #23 and you will see the extraordinary creation of the nature, a 4-kilometer long valley that lies in between the mountains. There you will find steep slopes and abrupt cliffs that are a stunning product of nature. Taiyuan Valley is also nicknamed “Little Tianxiang”, refering to a village in Taroko Gorge that is known for its special landscape.

Taiyuan Valley is the Formosa Macaques’ paradise. They forage in groups at dawn and in the woods at sunset, which is a unique scene in Taitung. You can observe wild macaque near the Dengxian Bridge Recreation Area.

Sintung Sugar Factory Culture Park (Dulan) 都蘭糖廠

Sintung Sugar Factory Culture Park, located in the town of Dulan, used to be a brown sugar factory but closed in 1991. Under the guidance of the Taitung County government, it was transformed into a creative culture park, which is today a space for creative arts and cultural activities. In Sintung Sugar Factory you can find art galleries, coffee houses, handicraft shops and restaurants.

Although the sugar factory was bombed during WWII, some of the old structures are still standing. For example, there’s a chimney that towers into the sky. There are also several large original warehouses that have been renovated and are used as exhibition rooms for the local artists. Apart from selling drift wood furniture, the Sugar Factory’s warehouse is operated by four art workers and offers pottery and accessories. A house situated in the middle of the Sugar Factory area, that has some paintings on its external wall, is a handicraft shop selling original handicrafts from Taitung that have been constructed from local materials. Almost every Saturday night at 8 pm there are live concerts played by bands and singers from around the world, too. Guests are warmly welcome to sign together!

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